When your board selects a new association management company (AMC), it isn’t like firing an employee.
It is like firing several employees, all at once.
Or at least it can feel that way.
Strong bonds can develop between a board of directors, committees, and the AMC staff of an association.
No board likes to deliver the bad news to an AMC owner that they are going to look at management alternatives—but often a board’s decision to seek a new management partner will not be a surprise to an AMC. By the time one side is considering severing the partnership, the other side has usually also considered the possibility. For a variety of reasons associations and AMCs can often become poor fits for each other, with one side outgrowing the other. An association experiencing rapid growth may need more resources than their existing AMC can provide, or an association experiencing contraction may need to opt for a more affordable management partner.
While telling an AMC owner that you are going to look for another management partner may be challenging—in the end, finding the right management partner for your association is one of the most consequential decisions an association’s board of directors will ever make.
Thankfully, association management companies come in all shapes and sizes. There are large national management firms that can be the right partner for even the biggest, most complex associations out there. There are midsize firms that bring specific talents, experiences, assets, and strengths to clients. There are also many, many small firms that can provide low-cost management solutions that can be affordable for even the tiniest associations.
(To put your association on the strongest path to success, we strongly recommend choosing an association management company accredited by the AMCI Institute.)
Finding a new partner can be tough, no matter what the scenario. Saying otherwise would be completely misleading. There is going to be a lot of work, at least some regret, uncomfortable conservations about money, potential discussions with lawyers, and the risk of not really knowing if the new partner’s shortcomings will be any easier to deal with than your last partner’s failings.
That said, sometimes looking for a new management partner is the best thing your association can do for itself and your existing AMC. Just because everyone may know a breakup needs to happen doesn’t mean it will happen. By having the courage to admit what is often obvious to everyone involved, your association is giving both itself and their AMC an opportunity to go out and find the right partner.
Informing your existing AMC that it is the right time for your association to explore a new management partner will often be one of the hardest things a board will ever have to do.
But like the cliché says, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.
Wondering whether it is time for your association to explore a new association management company? Read “Three Signs You Need to Rethink Your AMC.”
Has your association decided to transition to a new management partner? Read “Three Things Boards Need to do to Ensure a Smooth Transition Between AMCs.”
Ready to hire your next AMC? Read Five Questions to ask Before you Hire an Association Management Company.